Kenya back on track in ICC Intercontinental Cup
ICC Media release
Kenya's two-day innings win over the Netherlands in the ICC Intercontinental Cup clash in Amstelveen has lifted the African side to the top of the table with the finish line to the group stage just around the corner.
But Kenya is still not guaranteed a place in the finals with Ireland and Namibia capable of denying it.
And with three group matches remaining, any one of that trio of sides could still miss out.
The Irish, two-time defending champions, can book its berth with back-to-back wins against Namibia and Steve Tikolo's men while Namibia, long-time table-toppers following five successive wins, will make it with a victory over cellar-dwellers Bermuda.
So, there are plenty of hurdles to get over before Kenya can start planning for the final but at least it can reflect on a great return to form in the Netherlands, the innings and six-run win contrasting with a bitterly disappointing ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in Belfast.
The Africans, ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finalists in 2003, were completely outshone in that six-team event, finishing fourth behind joint winners Ireland and the Netherlands and third-placed Scotland.
The Netherlands actually beat Kenya by 19 runs in the opening match of the ICC WT20 Qualifier but with six players from that encounter – Darron Reekers, Ryan ten Doeschate, Daan van Bunge, Mudassar Bukhari, Henk-Jan Mol and Jeroen Smits – missing in Amstelveen, Kenya had little trouble in exacting revenge.
Indeed, two Dutch batsmen – opener Rifaiz Bakas (0 and 16) and Lesley Stokkers (6 and 23) – made their first-class debuts in this latest match.
The Netherlands was still in the match late on the first day when, having been bowled out for just 126, it fought back to reduce Kenya to 119-5.
However, with Maurice Ouma managing the lower-order's resistance, the visitors were able to engineer a first innings lead of 127, which proved more than enough in the circumstances.
Ouma's 114, including 10 fours and six sixes, was crucial in seeing the last five wickets in his side's innings add 134 despite no-one among the bottom four in the batting list reaching double figures.
Peter Ongondo (5-13) then cut a swathe through the Netherlands' top-order and once it was reduced to 48-5 then there was no way back for the home side.
Ongondo finished with the remarkable match figures of 24-10-27-7, another indication of his class, something also reflected in his presence in the top 20 of the Reliance Mobile ODI Player Rankings.
So, what of any crumbs of comfort for the Dutch? Aste Buurman, who stepped in as wicketkeeper in the absence of Smits, made a battling 41 in the second innings while spinner Pieter Seelaar, so impressive in the ICC WT20 Qualifier, bowled beautifully to capture 5-57.
The Netherlands's campaign is now over, with three wins and four losses from its seven matches and it occupies fifth spot, a position it will retain whatever the results of the three remaining group matches.
ICC Intercontinental Cup table (as of 19 August)
P W L D A Pts
Kenya 6 4 1 0 1 96
Namibia 5 5 0 0 0 82
Scotland 7 3 1 2 1 82
Ireland 5 3 0 2 0 72
Netherlands 7 3 4 0 0 48
UAE 7 1 5 1 0 29
Canada 7 1 5 1 0 29
Bermuda 6 1 5 0 0 26
Six points for first innings lead
14 points for a win (so, maximum of 20 points per match) (W)
3 points for a draw (D)
10 points for an abandoned match (A)
Top two sides qualify for the final at a venue to be confirmed
3 – 6 September – Bermuda v Namibia
5 – 8 October – Namibia v Ireland
12 – 15 October – Kenya v Ireland
Final - TBC